This article is from the Fall 2001 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Nichole Royer
I drink lots (and lots) of Diet Coke. At work, the only way I can get it is in plastic 20-oz bottles. This has left me sitting at work staring at those bottles all day, and naturally my mind has wandered away to think about what the critters would think of the bottles.
One of my first discoveries was that a 16-oz cap-type lid and tube fit those bottles perfectly. The bottles’ curved shape makes it difficult for rats to chew, and they are easily hung by the usual water bottle hangers. When they get dirty, there’s no need to scrub them out. Just recycle them and hook up a new bottle.
When the weather is warm, it’s very easy for our critters to get overheated, particularly while traveling. A great way to prevent this is to fill Coke bottles three-quarters full, then put them in the freezer. When it gets hot out, put one in your critter’s cage. If they feel hot, they will lay next to (on top of, wrapped around) the bottle, keeping themselves cool. The critters really seem to love it if you pull an old sock over the bottle.
This also works the other way around. If it is very cold out, fill the bottle with warm (not scalding) water and put it in a sock. Put this in the cage, but be sure that your critters can get away from it if they want to. Remember, they have a fur coat; they don’t necessarily get cold as easily as we do.
Just for the heck of it, I tossed an empty Coke bottle into one of my rat cages. The girls promptly checked it out and one of them pounced on it. They quickly discovered that it was very light weight and could be bounced all over their cage.
To add more fun, I added a small amount of orange juice (maybe 3 tablespoons) to the bottle and laid it on its side in the freezer. My boys loved this one, since they could bat it, toss it, and occasionally get a treat out of it.